Update 11/01/17 -- Here's some updates from our original post on CalFresh, FEMA, clean-up resources, community meetings and fundraisers, and more. The collected resources can be found below, scroll down.
The Local Assistance Center has moved from Mendocino College, it is now located at1375 N. State Street in Ukiah (the storefront to the left of Raley's). It will be open 10am -7pm Monday - Saturday as long as it's needed. You can see more information here.
PG&E announced it has loosened billing and collections procedures for people impacted by the fires. See more information here.
Currently, there are several hotels in Ukiah that are accepting FEMA vouchers, and county staff is working on getting more hotels enrolled so that evacuees can find places to stay. People who qualify for housing assistance may receive vouchers for "5-14 days, adjustable to 30 days as needed. FEMA, in conjunction with the State, territorial or tribal government, may extend this period of assistance, if needed, in 14-day intervals for up to six months from the date of the disaster declaration."
CalFresh benefits are available to people who were impacted by the fires, and you can apply at the Local Assistance Center or at the County's Family Assistance Centers, or online. People may be eligible who suffered "damage to or destruction of the home or self-employment business; loss or inaccessibility of income including a reduction or termination of income or a significant delay in receiving income due to disaster related problems; or disaster-related expenses (home or business repairs, temporary shelter, evacuation, etc.) that are not expected to be reimbursed during the disaster benefit period." Benefits are usually available three days after the application. You can apply through November 1, all the details can be found here.
The county is coordinating a free clean-up effort with the California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control. However, these services will only be available for a limited time and require property owners to complete a “Right-of-Entry” agreement. The process began this past week, see the details here.
We've put together an updated list of fundraisers and places to donate here.
You can watch our livestream from the county's October 24 community meeting in Redwood Valley, where representatives from different agencies gave an overview of relief efforts and answered questions from the crowd. We had some difficulty with the internet connection, so the meeting is in several parts:
Part 2: We were having some connection difficulties so this section is cut off somewhat.
Part 3: This is primarily the question and answer section of the meeting.
MENDOCINO CO., 10/18/17 — The Redwood Fire is now 90% contained, and a mass effort to coordinate resources for the people affected by the week-long fire that swept through 36,000 acres has begun. Currents estimates are that 313 homes were destroyed along with 224 structures and five commercial buildings. Everyone from community groups, to county supervisors, state, and federal officials is collaborating in some way.
On Tuesday, an assistance center at Mendocino College opened, creating a one-stop location for people seeking resources and assistance after the fires, and many community groups are working to organize fundraisers and other resources to help those impacted by the fire, which we’ve put into a list below.
Congressman Jared Huffman stopped by the center the day it opened, after giving an update to county supervisors, who discussed ways they could relax building codes and permitting requirements for people trying to rebuild after the fire, as well as how to best get state-funded clean-up resources, such as CalRecycle, out to people who need it. You can watch the video of the supervisors’ Tuesday meeting here, and videos from the county’s press conference with state and federal relief agencies here.
We’ve put together a bunch of different resources for people impacted by the fire. If you know of something we missed, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting our Facebook page and we will add it in. Please watch out for scams - we have seen fundraising pages and scam phone calls asking for money and information. Any fundraiser, state or local agency, or companies such as PG&E will be able to verify the identity of any staff calling.
Please note: some of the rebuilding assistance is only available for a limited time, sometimes based on when the fire is fully contained, when evacuees returned to their home, or when assistance was made available. Please check with the relevant agency about any application deadlines, there are people who can assist with filling out the applications.
- The County of Mendocino’s fire resources page is here.
- North Coast Assemblyman Jim Wood’s fire resources page is here.
- Congressman Jared Huffman's resource assistance page is here.
- Information for farmers impacted by the wildfires, put together by the Good Farm Fund, can be found here.
- A collection of fundraising resources and upcoming fundraisers can be found here.
Immediate Assistance and other resources:
- North Coast Opportunities is providing immediate financial assistance for those in need through their Fire Relief Fund.
- Local Assistance Center is open from 10am - 7pm through October 30 every day at Mendocino College, 1000 Hensley Creek Road. Mendocino College is also the location of the shelter for evacuees. You can get help navigating insurance policies, accessing Cal OES or FEMA grants to clean up, getting your vital documents renewed, food, clothing, and so much more. Agencies will include the Social Security Administration, county public health and environmental health staff, counseling services, the Employment Development Department, the DMV, the Agricultural Commission, the State Contractor’s Licensing Board, Vital records, and many other county and state agencies and non-profits. Due to space limitations they are not accepting in-kind donations/material donations at the Local Assistance Center at this time.
- The Local Assistance Center for Lake County is located in Clearlake, 11am - 7pm. at the Clearlake Senior Community Center, located at 3245 Bowers Ave, Clearlake.
- FEMA assistance for individuals is available beginning October 18 - they are also at the Local Assistance Center to help with applications in-person. You can register by going to disasterassistance.gov, call 800-621-FEMA, or apply through the mobile app.
- Property taxes are being sent out October 23 - the county is providing the option to delay payments for property owners who suffered more than $10,000 in damages and so may qualify for calamity assistance. The announcement can be found here, and the application to apply can be found here.
- If you’ve misplaced your driver’s license or other paperwork, the DMV, the Social Security Administration, and Vital Records are assisting people at the Local Assistance Center.
- Workers and self-employed people who were affected by the fire can receive unemployment benefits. More information is available here: Employment Development Department is also at the Local Assistance Center to talk with people more about these benefits and other assistance - this has a short deadline of ten days after the disaster.
- Legal assistance: The California State Bar has set up a free hotline in English and Spanish for people who need legal assistance after the fire, available to everyone regardless of immigration status. The hotline is reachable at 415-575-3120. You can find more legal resources here. You can call from 8:30am - 5:30pm Monday-Friday (with expanded hours coming next week). All calls are confidential.
- CalFresh/EBT: CalFresh/EBT and WIC recipients - If you lost WIC vouchers due to the fire in Redwood and Potter Valleys, you can stop by the Ukiah WIC office at 1120 S. Dora Street and have them replaced. If you are in the Redwood Valley or Potter Valley zip codes, CalFresh has already credited the EBT card with 60% of your monthly benefit amounts, there is no paperwork to fill out. If you were affected and you don't live in those zip codes, or didn't receive credit already, you have until November 9th to apply for the 60% of your monthly benefit to replace lost food.
- Medical appointments: Staff at the Local Assistance Center can help with making medical appointments. Free virtual health care clinic with primary care, pediatric care, and counseling services provided by Adventist Health, available at Mendocino College until October 31 from 10 am - 7pm in the Phys. Ed. Department room 860. For more information call 707-463-7562.
- Counseling services are available at the Local Assistance Center, and more tips about dealing with returning to normal life after a disaster can be found here. Suicide rates often increase after situations like this, please check in with friends, family, and neighbors, and talk with someone if you are feeling down.
General Info for people returning home after evacuations:
- Residents returning home are urged to take precautions as the ash and debris at their homes is considered hazardous waste, and can lead to health problems. You are encouraged to document the damage and contact your insurance company immediately but avoid moving debris as much as possible, so it does not become airborne. Additionally, changing the footprint of the debris might prevent you from being eligible for state and federal clean-up assistance. The county landfill is not available to accept ash and debris but the county is working on getting clean-up assistance available to people ASAP. Here’s more information about what to do when returning back to a fire-damaged home, and more information about the free available clean-up program here.
- Food waste dumpsters are available at least through October 20 from 12 - 5 at the following locations: Redwood Valley Elementary School on School Way ( this is the old school ); Potter Valley rodeo grounds; Willits at the WISC center on 472 East Valley Street.
- Additional masks are available at the Willits and Ukiah libraries.
- If you were separated from your pets during the fire, please contact the Ukiah Animal Shelter, they are ready to come home with you! Pictures are being posted on the animal shelter’s Facebook page, and you can also contact them here. The Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah. Large animals are being housed at the Ukiah Fairgrounds at 1055 North State Street. Assistance in the form of pet food, supplies, vaccinations, and short-term housing is also available for people who have been impacted by the fire; call 707-467-6453 for more info.
People and organizations looking to volunteer help or donate money, local community centers:
- North Coast Opportunities is coordinating volunteers and also assisting with fundraising efforts for evacuees. Organizations who need help can contact them, so should people who want to register and volunteer.
- The Community Foundation of Mendocino has organized a fund for those impacted by the fire, you can donate here.
- The Redwood Valley Grange has been serving as a community center and coordinating donations, food, and services for people — they are located at 8650 East Rd in Redwood Valley.
- The Potter Valley Family Resource Center, 10175 Main Street, 743-1188 between 8-8 on Tuesday and day to day hours after that.
- Community members have been coordinating donations at 546 east Perkins street, according to the Potter Valley/Redwood Valley Fire Facebook group.
- Danila Sands is collecting cards and messages for fire victims, you can send them here: PO BOX 662, Ukiah, CA 95482.
Upcoming fundraising dates: if you know of any, get in touch and we will update this list. See the updated list here, and let us know if you're planning something!
- October 20 - The Redwood Valley Grange is having a fresh food drive — let people know who might have donations or need food. Lunch will be served and other resources available between 10 - 6pm.
- October 20 - Shanachie Pub in Willits is having a fundraiser for fire victims, beginning at 5pm, sliding scale. Performers include Schindig, The Sheds, Bug Guts, Pick & Pull, and The Clay Hawkins Trio.
- October 21 - KLLG first birthday and emergency preparedness fundraiser at the Little Lake Grange in Willits, with some proceeds donated to fire victims, 7pm with bands and dinner, more details here.
- November 4 - Fighting Fire with Fashion fundraiser - 12 - 3pm - fashion show supported by local to raise money for fire victims - more details here.
- November 4 - There is a “Mendocino Strong Together” fundraiser planned for the Ukiah Fairgrounds, 4pm - 10pm, with music, a tri-tip dinner, and more, see all the details here.
- November 19 - Fundraiser at Kure Wellness in Ukiah co-hosted by Mendocino Generations - more details TBA